Monday, January 25, 2016

Waiting for 2016 Technologies

Ex Machina

Marcus and Agata are both a little impatient to see significant technologies improve our lives. So whilst I'd rather discuss the far future, instead I'll merely express some 2016 technology trends that will affect us.

Today, excluding Apple who I can really praise for not pre-announcing,  the rest of the Industry has a habit of announcing first and delivering later.  Often a lot later.  So in 2016 I would welcome the actual appearance of:

USB 3.1 Type C

Image result for usb type c
Image result for usb type c

At last a reversible USB interface with speeds upto 10GB/second.  Come on, surely that is fast enough for a mere peripheral interface!  And,  it's extendible, so much so that you can slot in other /lesser/ IMHO interfaces like Intel Lightpeak / Apple Thunderbolt inside the USB 3.1 interface.

In 2016 I want to see at the very least
- Smartphones with true USB 3.1 Type C
- Motherboards with large numbers of USB 3.1 and less of USB 3.0 or USB 2.0
- PCIe cards with USB 3.1  (Currently there is almost none of Type C, I've been studying and waiting for over 6 months now.  Hmm)


Just an Android Smartphone, Android 6 Marshmallow, with 20MP+ camera, Laser Focus, Large sensor, true USB C and fast charging, Fingerprint Reader, HD (1920x1080) screen, micro SD storage.

This is not a long spec list. But so far as I write this NO smartphone delivers this.  On the /would like/ spec list would also be:  basic water resistance,   2560x1440 screen  (4K is just ridiculous), dual SIM.

In case you are wondering.  Wait for Mobile World Congress  for at least solid announcements, one step better than unsubstantiated rumour.

Intel NUC with DDR4 i7

NUC  is a small form factor (I mean like half a shoe box small) Intel PC able to run Windows 10 or Linux or really any Intel OS.  Thus far it's been a developing design currently upto Intel i7.gen5 + DDR3  or Intel i5.gen6 + DDR4   I expect a more powerful NUC soon.   If you can't wait for Intel models then Gigabyte BRIX is already there.

Windows Surface Phone

In my heart I know that even Microsoft does not want windows 10 Mobile to power its smartphone future.  The current philosophy is that you can write one Universal application that will run on the ARM based Cortex instruction set and also on the Intel x64 based Skylake architecture.

But let's imagine that Microsoft builds a phone using lower Powered Intel x64 hardware letting regular Windows and not Windows 10 Mobile drive your phone.

This surely must be the end game.  Power challenges apply though since the current Cortex come in at under 8 Watts maximum and that's just getting an Intel x64 started.

In the true spirit of reductionism and simplicity this makes the most sense to me, but implementation in 2016, not so sure. The other alternative is that an ARM based 'Surface Phone' is launched.  Then I am not so keen!

(Somebody else with our viewpoint already )

New Broadwell Dual Processor Xeon

The wise have been waiting for Intel's Dual processor Xeon refresh for about 2 years now.   Today you can only buy

single Processor Xeon.  So just hold on!  Don't be a fool and take a Uniprocessor Motherboard and CPU combo today.   Dual processors are coming soon.

(Don't buy single processor Skylake Xeon! like this )

Higher Performance Disk Interfaces

I'm looking forward in 2016 to purchasing an Intel based Motherboard which will have native support for PCI 3.0 x4, NVMe M.2 2280 disk interfaces!  (What a mouthful).

In fact I'd really rather have 2 M.2 on the mainboard and that rather cuts down the choices thus far.

M.2 when properly implemented should result in the boot drive have read speeds in excess of 2GBytes/second.  Some 5 times, faster than the best SATA SSD system.  That is one hell of a performance boost and so please dear Integrators, don't settle for something less.

Continued collapsing SSD Pricing


The price of 1TB and even 2TB SSD, 2.5 inch form factor disks is now relatively sane.  Insanity pricing recently moved upto the 13TB SSD.

As an old boy I can now comment that the price I paid for my original 79KByte 5.25 inch floppy =~ (approx) 5MB Hard Disk =~ 64MB SSD =~ 512GB SSD in 2015.  So please, if you are entering the market in 2015, basically you've had it far too easy.

I can see a personal Workstation or extreme laptop with multiple 512GB / 1TB  SATA or M.2 SSD becoming a reality in 2016.

Fitness / Bikes

Tubeless Easy Bicycle Tyres

First read our Blog Article   If the promise holds true we shall get a lighter and simpler bicycle tyre (no inner tube) that will also offer good puncture resistance.   I've been waiting since summer 2015 already.

Wireless Groupsets

We first saw and had a brief hands on to eTAP at Eurobike 2015 Germany.    Very impressive, and when it is finally launched in 2016 we would be eager to buy.  Obviously as IT savvy consumers we'll give it a few months for [other] innocents to beat out the bugs first before we purchase :-)

Disc Brakes Ratification
Some decent standardisation by major manufacturers so we can agree sizing, operation, placement or disc brakers and calipers.  So we the consumer can again have some build it yourself choice, and mix and match when selecting a disc based road or mountain bike.

In 2016 we plan to buy our first disc based road bicycle.  Agata has volunteered to be the test subject since her bicycle, although upgraded, is now over 7 years old.  Recall we cycle upto 10,000Km each yearly, we think we have earned it!

Nice to Have
Decent smartwatch with GPS and HRM, waterproof,  decent web app which decent  exportable data and connections to other health/ fitness providers.

Industry Trends

4K arrivals
smartphones,   tv,  video recording, youtube, computer monitors, graphics cards, screen interfaces.  Even in 2016 your jump to 4K is going to be expensive but it is now doable.  Of course there is basically no media content (save youtube clips) at 4K so your 4K or 8K TV is utterly useless, but, keep the faith.

Smartphone Centric World
I applaud the trend towards Smartphone centric computing.  Since apps or Web applications continue to proliferate; there is no reason why non power users, which is most people, cannot manage almost entirely on just their smartphone.  Further, in developing countries the Smartphone is the sensible and sometimes the only or really majority IT purchase for an individual.  Such users don't have the luxury and indeed the WASTE of buying multiple optimised devices for office, home, phone, surfing, mobile needs  (hint Apple!).   Indeed it's a waste of money (they don't have) and costly to our environment  (5 devices instead of maybe 2).   Advances like Microsoft Contiuum are really making one device computing a reality.  

Further demise of Big Computing
Background: I trained on mainframes, I was a [reluctant] mainframe specialist, but despite IBM's greatest mainframe fanboy quotes, they are almost out. Mainframes today desperately pander to customers with [ entrenched | lazy | disorganised ]  legacy systems they can't change.  The future is not here. At best the future is non proprietary UNIX i.e. Linux on non IBM Mainframe hardware.  I'd like to say on IBM Power Hardware or similar but even at the highest end the future is actually 100% Intel x64

One Last Moan!
I've tried to stay positive until now.  However, let me think.  I also foresee:  increasing: high end pricing causing rift's between the affluent consumer and other, or first and third world clientele, Engineered Obsolescence,  Unserviceable technology.